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Biolubes Lack Field Testing

Dear LubesnGreases,

I just finished reading Steve Swedbergs July column, Whats Bio – and Whats Next? Basically I think he is correct and his logic is correct. However, I strongly believe that any new technology, such as a biolube based engine oil, absolutely has to be field tested to ascertain if the Sequence Tests conducted on them are meaningful.

As you know, the Sequence Tests were developed with existing additive and base stock technologies. Using new technology that only passes the Sequence Tests does not necessarily mean that this new technology will perform satisfactorily in the field. When synthetic engine oils were first being introduced, an oil was about to be marketed that passed all the Sequence Tests but had not been field tested. I insisted that a field test had to be conducted before an approval would be granted. A field test was conducted – and the oil failed to provide satisfactory wear protection. The oil was reformulated and the oil company was very grateful that they had not marketed the original non-field tested product.

Steve suggested that Group V base stocks and interchange guidelines could be incorporated into an engine test program for these new base stocks. It seems to me that before any meaningful base stock interchange guidelines can be established, it needs to be established if the Sequence Tests themselves are meaningful indicators of the true field performance of biolube based engine oils. The column, in my opinion, would have been near-perfect and complete if the field-testing correlation aspect had been included.

Richard H. Kabel

GM Research Laboratories (ret.)

Romeo, Mich.

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